When McKenna Pope, 13, went shopping for a Christmas gift for her little brother, she planned to buy him an Easy-Bake Oven, a toy that allows kids to bake treats. Her brother, Gavyn Boscio, 4, loves to cook. But McKenna changed her mind when she discovered that Hasbro, the toy company who produces the popular oven, only makes the toy in purple and pink—and only features girls on the box and in commercials. So instead of buying an oven, McKenna cooked up another plan. She started a campaign to get Hasbro to make a gender-neutral oven. "I don't want them to make a boys' Easy-Bake Oven and a girls' Easy-Bake Oven,” McKenna, from Garfield, New Jersey, told the Associated Press. “I want them to make an Easy-Bake Oven for kids."
The Easy-Bake Oven was first introduced in 1963. At the time, the stereotype was that only women cooked. Today, that’s changed, in part thanks to famous male chefs like Bobby Flay, who used an Easy-Bake Oven when he was a kid. Over the years, Hasbro says the company has featured boys on the packaging and offered the product in several different color schemes. But this year, just the purple and pink model is available. McKenna wants that to change, and she’s not alone. Her petition, posted on change.org, has received more than 45,000 signatures.
By next summer, McKenna should have her wish. On December 17, Hasbro invited the New Jersey teen and her family to their headquarters in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, to meet with the Easy-Bake Oven team. They showed her a prototype, or model, of their newest Easy-Bake Oven, which is scheduled to hit stores in 2013. The new color scheme is black, silver and blue. The company also told McKenna they plan to feature boys in ads. "It's actually a product that's played with by both boys and girls," says John Frascotti, Hasbro’s chief marketing officer. "We will continue to offer the existing [purple and pink] product too because it's so popular."
McKenna was happy with what she saw at Hasbro. “They really met most or even all of what I wanted them to, and they really amazed me,” McKenna said. She added that Gavyn thought the new design was “awesome.”